New Obscurities of the 2015-2016 TV Season [Updated]

Remember when we gathered back in September to predict which new fall show would be the first cancellation of the season? If you’ve already forgotten, it was ABC’s Wicked City, which debuted in late October and was yanked off the air three weeks later due to incredibly low ratings.

There are still a few weeks left to go before the 2015-2016 officially comes to an end and with the exception of NBC, the networks have yet to unveil their schedules for next fall. The network upfronts are being held over the next three or four days. But we know enough right now to start discussing the new obscurities of the 2015-2016 season.

Personally, I only watched four or five new network shows that didn’t survive. I really liked The Grinder (FOX), so I’m disappointed it got cancelled. I had high hopes for The Muppets (ABC) but was underwhelmed. If the unaired episodes of Angel from Hell or Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life end up online or On Demand, I’ll probably watch them.

New Obscurities: Fall 2015

Last fall, the networks opted not to cancel some of their under-performing freshman shows–like Minority Report (FOX) and Blood & Oil (ABC)–opting instead to “trim” episode orders and then quietly stop discussing the shows in question. Those informal cancellations are now being made official. There were also a few true cancellations, like the aforementioned Wicked City as well as The Player and Truth Be Told (both NBC).

Other new shows were picked up for the whole season–like The Grinder (FOX), Life in Pieces (CBS), and Blindspot (NBC). Not all the shows that were given full season pickups will be returning next fall. I like to call any show that lasted a full season, or close to a full season, one season wonders.

It doesn’t look like the 2015-2016 season will produce a lot of true one season wonders. Both Grandfathered and The Grinder on FOX were picked up for the entire season only to be cancelled last week. Still in limbo are two CBS dramas–Code Black and Limitless–that may turn out to be one season wonders.

Here’s a list of the new obscurities from Fall 2015:

  • Grandfathered (FOX) – 22 episodes
  • The Grinder (FOX) – 22 episodes
  • Limitless (CBS) – 22 episodes
  • The Muppets (ABC) – 16 episodes
  • Heroes Reborn (NBC) – 13 episodes
  • Blood & Oil (ABC) – 10 episodes
  • Minority Report (FOX) – 10 episodes
  • Truth Be Told (NBC) – 10 episodes
  • The Player (NBC) – 9 episodes
  • Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (NBC) – 8 episodes
  • Wicked City (ABC) – 3 episodes (5 unaired)

I’ll update this list once CBS reveals its plans for Code Black and Limitless. [May 16th, 2016 Update: CBS has renewed both Code Black and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.] [May 25th, 2016 Update: Limitless has officially been cancelled].]

New Obscurities: Mid-Season 2016

Technically, mid-season replacements with 10 or 13-episode orders can be one season wonders as well if every episode airs. They’re just much shorter one season wonders. Again, there are two CBS mid-season dramas that may be cancelled in the next few days: Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Rush Hour. Likewise, FOX hasn’t made a decision about the recently introduced Houdini and Doyle.

Here’s a list of all the new obscurities from Mid-Season 2016:

  • Bordertown (FOX) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • Crowded (NBC) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • Containment (The CW) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • Rush Hour (CBS) – 13 episodes [still airing]
  • The Family (ABC) – 12 episodes
  • Telenovela (NBC) – 11 episodes
  • Second Chance (FOX) – 11 episodes
  • Heartbeat (NBC) – 10 episodes [still airing]
  • Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (FOX) – 10 episodes [3 unaired]
  • You, Me and the Apocalypse (NBC) – 10 episodes
  • Angel from Hell (CBS) – 5 episodes (8 unaired)
  • Of Kings & Prophets (ABC) – 2 episodes (7 unaired)

I’ll revise this list if CBS and FOX decide to cancel Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Rush Hour, and Houdini and Doyle. [May 16th, 2016 Update: CBS has renewed Code Black. Rush Hour, however, has been cancelled.]

Watching New Obscurities of the 2015-2016 Season

It’s unlikely most of these new obscurities will be released on DVD or Blu-ray. Assuming you no longer record shows in the DVR age, that means the only way to own the episodes is to purchase them through Amazon Video or iTunes. For just $2.99 each you can own both aired episodes of ABC’s Of Kings & Prophets uncensored.

Most of these shows will remain available for free online at network websites until they’re removed when the new season starts this fall. All five aired episodes of Angel From Hell can be watched at CBS.com, for example.

If you’ve got cable, On Demand may be another option but at some point shows from the 2015-2016 season will probably be removed. Depending on your cable provider, you may be able to purchase episodes as well.

That leaves streaming services. Hulu has some of these new obscurities right now but you may have to subscribe to get every episode. At some point in the future, some of them may come to Netflix or Amazon Prime (or CBS All Access for CBS shows) and then eventually disappear forever.


4 Comments

  • Lurky McLurkson says:

    ‘Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris’ was hysterically bad.

  • Steve Z. says:

    Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was renewed for a second season.

    • Robert says:

      Yes it was and I could’ve sworn I made note of that but I guess I didn’t. I have revised the post to reflect it’s renewal.

  • Patrick McNamara says:

    With the way things are recorded and kept now, it’s less likely that these shows will become as obscure as shows of the past. I could see Limitless and The Muppets making it to DVD eventually. Heroes Reborn is already on DVD and it’s essentially just another season of the original series which is currently available on DVD. The Muppets are Muppets, so there’s likely to be a DVD for Muppet collectors. And Limitless was popular enough that the producers might feel they could make some money from it on DVD. But it may first spend some time on a digital streaming service.

    Both Angel from Hell and Of Kings and Prophets have enough unaired episodes that someone may be interested in them. Short runs shows like this suit digital streaming systems well.

    In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if all these shows wind up on DVD. It’s a good way for the producers to make their money back. DVDs today are pretty cheap to produce.

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